Onion Tarte Tatin

January 15, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: I’m loving baking more for my dinner this winter than for my dessert. This onion tarte tatin makes a perfect dinner, alongside a crisp salad. I prefer to make this in a 12-inch skillet for maximum onion coverage, and to make more servings, but the recipe can easily be lessened or tweaked slightly if you have a smaller skillet (just use less onions and make your puff pastry round smaller).

Featured In: An Unexpected, Ultra-Caramelized Take on Tarte Tatin
Erin McDowell

Makes: one 12-inch tarte tatin


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5-7 small onions, peeled, stem end left in tact, and cut in half
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • one 8-10 ounce sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen
  • parmesan cheese (optional, for garnishing)
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Have ready a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron.
  2. Place the skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, rounded halves downward in the skillet. Arrange the onions as tightly as possible to fill the whole pan (remember, they will shrink as they cook). Cook, undisturbed, until the onions have softened slightly and begun to brown, 12-15 minutes.
  3. Gently flip the onions and season with salt and pepper, flip again so the browned side is down. Add the sherry and balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced slightly 1-2 minutes. Add the herb sprigs in between the onions.
  4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the onions are golden and tender, 15-20 minutes more.
  5. While the onions cook, roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to flatten. Cut a circle about the size of the base of the skillet (totally ok to freehand here, no need to be perfect). Dock a few times with a fork.
  6. Remove the skillet from the oven, and use a fork or pair of tongs to push the onions together slightly—this should be easier now that they’ve softened. Gently drape the pastry over the onions, folding in a little at the edges to encase the onions.
  7. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the pastry is very golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Invert the skillet onto a cutting board to unmold the tarte tatin. Let cool for 5 minutes more. If using, serve with a generous grating of parmesan cheese.

More Great Recipes:
Pie|French|Vinegar|Sherry|Onion|Cast Iron|Entree

Reviews (11) Questions (1)

11 Reviews

Alyssa S. February 4, 2018
Can you better describe how you cut the onions? Cut in half lengthwise or horizontally? And then how to place both ends in the pan? Thanks!
Greenstuff February 4, 2018
Scroll through the pictures, and you can see that she cut them lengthwise. I think that horizontally would work equally well, just give you a different look.
Author Comment
Erin M. February 5, 2018
It's mostly important to keep the stem end in tact, this holds the onions together through all the cooking! So I cut them in half from stem end to tip end!
Gary Q. February 3, 2018
Should brush the puff pastry with butter before baking?
Ginney M. February 3, 2018
I am making this today, too! Do you think we leave the herb sprigs in place? Or do we remove before topping w the pastry?<br />
Gary Q. February 3, 2018
Or an Egg Wash<br />
Ginney M. February 3, 2018
I am going to treat it like most pastries, and do an egg wash....And I have decided to remove the 'woodiest' of the herb stems. Good luck w yours. ;-)<br />
Gary Q. February 3, 2018
You too :-)
Author Comment
Erin M. February 5, 2018
Hi Gary + Ginny - hope your tarts turned out great! I don't add butter or egg wash to the puff pastry because it ends up becoming the bottom - but you absolutely can! I pick the herbs off the surface once it's done baking, but leaving them on is fine too!
Diane January 31, 2018
Can you be more specific about onion size? Thanks.
Author Comment
Erin M. January 31, 2018
I used pretty small onions for the one you see in the picture - about 4 inches in circumference. But it also works with big onions, you’ll just need less of them and longer cook time at the beginning before adding the puff pastry (make sure they’re easily pierce-able with a knife before adding the puff)!